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How Do You Get Rid of a Burning Mouth? Treatment

Medically Reviewed on 3/2/2022

While burning mouth syndrome typically resolves on its own, you can ease symptoms by drinking fluids, sucking on ice chips, and rinsing with warm saltwater

While burning mouth syndrome typically resolves on its own, you can ease symptoms and relieve pain by:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids to avoid mouth dryness
  • Sucking on ice chips or popsicles
  • Rinsing with warm saltwater
  • Chewing sugar-free gums to stimulate saliva production
  • Consuming yogurt, milk, or honey
  • Avoiding hot and spicy foods
  • Avoiding acidic foods and beverages
  • Avoiding or limit intake of soda or coffee
  • Avoiding alcohol and tobacco products
  • Avoiding mouthwash that contains alcohol

What is burning mouth syndrome?

Burning mouth syndrome is a condition that causes pain and discomfort in the mouth. It more commonly affects women of menopausal age over 50 due to reduced estrogen levels.

There are two types of burning mouth syndrome: primary and secondary. Primary burning mouth syndrome has no identifiable cause, whereas secondary burning mouth syndrome may be caused by an underlying issue such as hormonal imbalance or vitamin deficiency.

What are the symptoms of burning mouth syndrome?

Symptoms may appear suddenly or develop over time and may include:

  • Burning sensation in the mouth, tongue or lips
  • Metallic or bitter taste in the mouth
  • Dryness of the mouth (xerostomia)
  • Tingling or numbness in the mouth
  • Complete loss of taste (dysgeusia)

What causes burning mouth syndrome?

The exact cause of burning mouth syndrome is unknown. However, most cases have been linked to conditions such as:

  • Menopause and other hormonal changes
  • Nutritional deficiencies, such as iron, zinc, or vitamin B
  • Damage to the nerves that control taste and pain (due to a stroke or a tumor)
  • Allergic reactions to foods
  • Dental procedures
  • Jaw clenching or teeth grinding
  • Thrush (oral yeast infection)
  • Conditions that alter taste or saliva production
  • Medical conditions, such as diabetes, thyroid disease, liver problems, rheumatoid arthritis, dry mouth, dry eyes and Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Mental disorders, such as anxiety or depression
  • Certain medicines, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors used to treat high blood pressure

Some researchers speculate that there is a causal relationship between burning mouth syndrome and a loss of bitter taste buds at the tip of the tongue. This theory suggests that bitter taste buds inhibit pain, but when the ability to taste bitterness is lost, the nerve fibers begin to fire spontaneously, which is felt as a burning sensation in the mouth.

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How is burning mouth syndrome diagnosed?

Your doctor will examine your mouth and analyze your symptoms to diagnose the exact cause of the condition. your doctor may recommend certain tests to rule out other possible mouth conditions, including:

  • Oral swab to check for oral yeast infection or oral thrush.
  • Blood tests to check for diabetes, thyroid abnormalities, and mineral deficiencies.
  • Food allergy tests

Can burning mouth syndrome be cured?

Symptoms of burning mouth syndrome may last for months to years, and there is no specific cure for the condition. Treatment is based on current symptoms, severity, and underlying causes.

Treatment options may include:

  • Products to increase saliva production and relieve dryness of the mouth
  • Vitamin supplements, such as iron, zinc, or vitamin B
  • Depression (antidepressants) or anxiety medications (antianxiety)
  • Ointments to relieve pain, such as Capsaicin
  • Medications to relieve pain, such as topical lidocaine or systemic clonazepam

Medically Reviewed on 3/2/2022

References

Image Source: iStock Images

American Academy of Family Physicians. Burning mouth syndrome. https://familydoctor.org/condition/burning-mouth-syndrome/

Cleveland Clinic. Burning mouth. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14463-burning-mouth

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